While spring training isn’t the ideal time for meaningful trades, things like that do happen, so the interest in Jonathan Lucroy from the Texas Rangers, Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics plus the eagerness of the Milwaukee Brewers to move could end up scribbling down a deal before the 2016 MLB season begins.
The 29-year old catcher has been hitting pretty well in Spring Training so far, with a .316 batting averaging in 19 at bats while also driving home three runs. Lucroy has always been one of the better catcher when it comes to smashing the ball, including finishing fourth on the MVP vote in 2014 along with his first and only All-Stat selection. He batted .301 that season (his second .300 or better year in three campaigns), drove in 69 runs thanks to 13 home runs and a league best 53 doubles.
In 2015, along with the sinking Brewers, Lucroy’s career took something of a wrong turn. An injury and a concussion kept him out for 59 games, as his batting dropped to .264 and his OPS to .717. This is an era with players sacrificing their average gladly for more power, but his slugging went down too, getting to .391, which is tied for his second worst season in that aspect.
The Brewers are a rebuilding team and Lucroy, still not 30, would like to play on a team that aspires for more right now and not in two years from now, which seems like where the Brewers are headed. And while the situation is frustrating, he isn’t pushing for a trade, and is simply hoping the pieces fall in a way that end up well for him too.
Considering that he’s on a very manageable contract ($4 million this season and a $5.25 million team option in 2017) it’s easy to see why teams are hoping to work out some sort of trade with the Brewers. There has been talk about giving him more time at first base or DH, if he ends up playing for an American League team.